Facts matter: Microsoft not disabling computers for content violations
A claim that Microsoft will be shutting down personal computers is the subject of an article posted to social media.
“Microsoft To Disable Computers of Users Who Share ‘Non-Mainstream Content’ Online,” reads the headline of the article in one post that was shared thousands of times on X. That user added that the technology company’s plan was to “combat so-called ‘misinformation’ in the run-up to the 2024 election.”
But this story is false, according to the Associated Press. The article doesn’t include any evidence to support the claim and the source of the article is a website known to share “erroneous” content.
The post includes a link to a video of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discussing artificial intelligence, or AI. But during that interview, which he did with anchor Lester Holt on “NBC Nightly News,” Nadella doesn’t say anything about disabling people’s computers.
In the clip, Nadella responds to a question from Holt concerning AI and the 2024 election.
“This is not the first election where we dealt with disinformation or propaganda campaigns by adversaries and election interference,” Nadella says. “I think we are doing all the work across the tech industry around watermarking, detecting deep fakes, and content IDs.”
Swift didn’t hold Trump sign at Grammys
A recent Instagram post appears to show singer Taylor Swift on the red carpet displaying support for former President Donald Trump.
In a photo, Swift is shown holding a banner that reads, “Trump won, Democrats cheated!” Along with the photo, one Instagram user wrote, "Taylor Swift blends politics and fashion on the #GRAMMYs red carpet.”
Other video versions showing Swift holding the same sign were also posted on Instagram.
But both the photo and video are fake, according to USA Today. The images have been doctored. Swift didn’t hold up that sign, or any other sign, on the red carpet before attending the Feb. 4 Grammy Awards.
In the original photo, which has a watermark from Variety magazine, and video from the event, Swift is seen wearing black gloves as she poses for photographers. In the manipulated images, she is shown holding up the large banner with glove-less hands. Also, in the video, USA Today points out, as Swift shifts her stance, the banner doesn’t move.
Other stories debunked by USA Today include claims Swift held up a different pro-Trump banner and wore an anti-Trump T-shirt.
Video of convoy from Germany, not Texas
A group of vehicles called the “Take Our Border Back” convoy took off from Virginia late last month and arrived in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Feb. 3 where a rally against illegal immigration was held.
A recent post includes a video of cars, trucks and tractors together flashing their lights.
"Thank you, Texas! The farmers and Truck drivers lining up. The Convoy is here. Well, over 20 miles long now!" reads the text included with the video in a Jan. 26 Instagram post.
But the clip isn’t from Texas nor does it show that recent gathering, according to USA Today. It’s from a protest in Germany and the video was online at least three weeks before the convoy to Texas set off.
The video is from a demonstration in Deggendorf, a town in Bavaria, Germany, showing a large group of farmers in nearly 850 vehicles gathering in response to agricultural budget cuts by the German government.
The “Take Our Border Back” convoy was estimated to include about 200 vehicles when it reached Texas, group organizers told NBC News.
Dog photo is real, story isn’t
A photo of an injured dog has been circulating on social media with varying stories about how it was involved in a hit-and-run incident in England.
Different posts have the crash happening in different places, but the message is the same:
“He was hit by a car in a hit-and-run incident. I took him to the vet he is not chipped I know someone is looking for him. He misses his family, I'll continue to take care of him in the meantime. Please bump this post to help me find his owner!!” read one Facebook post.
But that’s not this dog’s story, according to Reuters. The post is part of a social media hoax, misrepresenting the photo of the little white dog covered in blood.
The actual story isn’t any better.
The photo used in the fake post was taken from a 2022 Belfast Live news report about a man and his assistance dog Cody, who were attacked by “out-of-control hunting dogs” in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
"Sadly these scams are peppered across social media and genuine images are stolen in order to be used to pull the heartstrings of decent folk,” Belfast Live editor Jilly Beattie told Reuters.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at email@example.com.